As much as I love caramel I don't really have a lot of experience baking with it. It can be a bit temperamental and if you don't treat it just right it turns on you, spilling out of your once beautiful cookies and leaking all over your cookie sheet to later turn into a hard, sticky mess.
This was the case with my first batch of chocolate caramel cookies.
After that particular cookie calamity I wasn't feeling really keen on trying another batch anytime soon. I somehow managed to scare up a semi-decent looking cookie from the wreckage and went ahead and posted it on Instagram. One of our (favorite) Instagram friends and fellow blogger (and caramel extraordinaire) Kristin, saw my post and offered to send me some of her caramel sauce to play around with. I was suddenly very excited to try my hand at caramel cookies once again! She makes amazingly delicious, all natural, salted caramel sauce. You can (should) check out her website here: www.ardenthomesteader.com
Since her caramel comes as a sauce it needs to be cooked down to be used in cookies. Although this is pretty simple to do, store bought caramel candies work fine as well. (But note that you will probably need to cut them in half to fit in a cookie.)
To learn the step by step instructions of cooking caramel sauce into candy, let me direct you back to Kristin who does a much better job of it than me. Her caramel candy how-to can be found here.
After 3 tries and many different methods I found the best way! --"stuffing" the caramels worked well.
Please note* The cookie dough needs to chill for a minimum of 2 hours. This will help it hold the caramel and its shape while baking. If you can do more than 2 hours (or even overnight!) that's great. The longer it chills, the better. Though I know it's hard to wait!
Let's get started!
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
You will need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, ROOM TEMP
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
1 dark chocolate bar 4oz, chopped
Enough salted caramels to stuff the cookies, roughly 3
dozen, small(about ¾" ) caramels.
In a medium bowl combine soda, salt, flour and cocoa. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place both sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low for about 1 minute. Scrape bowl.
Next, gradually add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix for about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl before adding the chopped chocolate bar. Mix for a few seconds.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven 375F.
Take about a rounded tablespoon of dough in your hands, roll it into a ball.The dough will be hard since it's been chilled but you should be able to mold it in your hands. Next, poke your finger in the center making an indentation (being careful not to press all the way through) and place your caramel candy inside. Now you need just enough dough to cover the top, pinching the sides and rolling so that the caramel is totally covered and sealed by the cookie dough. This will help it stay inside and not leak out of your cookie. (Though a few might leak and thats ok. Just eat those ones first before the "leaked" caramel has a chance to harden.)
Once the cookies are all stuffed, place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don't burn!